People have said that you have to be crazy to do what three Newton residents did two weeks ago.
“Pretty much everybody (called us crazy),” Matt Scotton said. “We’re doing things that most people think are impossible, at the least they think they can’t do them. I think that there is value in showing them that ordinary guys like us do things that seem impossible. Hopefully its some sort of source of motivation or inspiration.”
So what is the crazy activity that the three members of the Wrecked’em Racing team took part in? Bike racing. But the course and the timeframe for the race was anything but ordinary.
Scotton, along with his teammates, and friends, Jeff Burnett and Brad Patty, competed in the “Trans Iowa V9,” a gravel road bike race that was conceived as a gravel road event. The course is configured as a loop that uses as much gravel road as possible, with a few Level-B maintenance roads thrown in.
Each year, the Trans Iowa V9 route — which ranges from 310 to 340 miles — is different. It runs out from and back into a host city, which has changed a few times over the years.
Riders had 34 hours to complete the race, which started at 4 a.m. It was also a self-supported race, meaning riders took on all personal liabilities and had no pre-arranged support systems. Riders also had to use “cue sheets” to navigate the course.
The cue sheets had a mileage to a turn, the direction to turn, and the name of the road to turn on.V9 was the ninth race in the series, which is annually arranged by “Guitar Ted.”
This was the first time the three Wrecked’em riders took part in it. Since it started, the race has only been canceled due to weather twice.
So what prompted a physical therapist (Scotton), a marketing vice-president (Burnett) and a IT project manager (Patty) to sign up for such a grueling task?
“It’s all Brad’s fault,” both Burnett and Scotton jokingly said.
Patty took the blame but began to explain why he and his friends took on this endeavor.
“It’s a folklore thing: an urban legend,” Patty said.
“It probably came onto our radar and at that time we all thought, ‘No way, this doesn’t sound like any fun,’” Burnett said.
“This would be really painful and crazy,” Scotton added. “And it did prove to be that way.”
The group initially never planned to participate in the race, but stayed aware of it. Then this year, a mutual friend was supposed to compete in it. Patty then came up with the solution that they should ride along with their friend to show support.
They were just supposed to ride along with the friend, but then got motivated after seeing that he was going to compete in such a challenging race.
“(He) added a little fuel to the fire when he decided to give it a shot,” Burnett said.
“He raised the bar,” Patty said. “We all kind of looked at him, well at least I did, and said, ‘If he can do it I can at least start it and see how much I make of it.’ (He’s) a good athlete but he’s not a cyclist as his first love.”
As evidenced by the matching team shirts and jackets the guy’s of Wrecked’em Racing love cycling. Another thing they blame on Patty.
“Everything points back to me,” Patty said jokingly. “I started cycling before I started driving, in terms of doing things like RAGBRAI.”
“I would describe Brad’s association with cycling as more of an obsession,” Burnett jokingly added.
“I won’t deny that either,” Patty said. “I have a bit of an obsessive compulsive disorder (with cycling).
“Soon after Jeff moved to town and I moved to town, he got us involved in cycling and racing,” Scotton added. “The lengths of our races has steadily increased over the last eight years I’ve been hanging around these guys.”
As a group, they have tackled 24-hour races before, but nothing like the Trans Iowa race. In their previous races, they could alternate who rides and have some rest periods. With the Trans Iowa race, the rider is entirely on his own.
With a 34-hour deadline, there isn’t much room for rest.
“The sleep deprivation part wasn’t too terribly foreign to us, but still not very good,” Patty said. “The distance was longer than anything we have ever done by a long shot.”
“It was over three times the distance I’ve done in one crack before, “Burnett added. “That was the other interesting thing about it, the pace. Most of the races we do, you are trying to ride faster. This one you just kind of throttled back, because you were riding for so long.”
“Riding all night, that was the first time I’ve done that too, it was different,” Burnett continued. “For me, the night was the worse. It got colder and we ran into some bad roads.”
“I literally felt like I was falling asleep while riding,” Scotton added.
All of the guys managed to finish the grueling race. Scotton finished well ahead of time thanks to the added motivation of making it to an awards banquet for his daughter.
He finished in 30 hours and four minutes. Patty and Burnett rode together and finished at 32 hours and 8 minutes.
The race is free to register and only 96 people signed up for the 120 race slots. Of the 96, only 36 managed to finish this year.
The guys wanted to thank their families for letting them participate and for putting up with all their crazy training schedules. Even a few days after the race, the guys were still beat up, but have no regrets.
“When else can you do a bike race and see two sunrises,” Burnett said.
Staff writer Ty Rushing my be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org via email.